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Apple partner JAMF files to go public after almost two decades helping companies use Apple products

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Students work on computers at the 42 school campus in Paris.

Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

JAMF’s IPO prospectus names Apple 533 times. The company says its mission is to “help organizations succeed with Apple.” One of its key risk factors is that customers become dissatisfied with Apple products.

Founded 18 years ago, JAMF is finally headed for the public market. In its prospectus released on Tuesday, the company isn’t shy about tying its fortunes to a tech giant that’s now valued by investors at over $1.5 trillion.

“Apple is ubiquitous,” JAMF says in the industry background section of its filing. “It has transformed the technology landscape by placing the user first and designing everything around maximizing the Apple user experience.”

JAMF helps companies securely deploy all of those Apple products, connecting them together and giving IT teams the tools to manage them. In the first quarter, revenue climbed 37% from a year ago, to $60.4 million, and the company’s gross margin rose to 75% from 70%, as more customers turned to its subscription offering. It’s still losing money, though its net loss narrowed slightly from $9 million to $8.3 million.

JAMF has been around for a long time, but its business has taken off in the last few years as Apple devices became more popular in business environments. Prior to the iPhone’s rise last decade, companies tended to rely on PCs running software from Microsoft and other vendors, and a myriad of phones from different providers. The iPhone’s popularity convinced some companies to take a closer look at other Apple products, including iPads and Macs.

Apple became a customer in 2010 and a channel partner in retail and education a year later. In its customer case studies section of the prospectus, JAMF highlights IBM, which decided in 2015 to deploy more than 30,000 Mac computers over a six-month period to employees, and SAP, which in 2018 shifted employees to over 80,000 iPhones and iPads in seven months.

JAMF says competitors include VMware, Microsoft and IBM, though none of them are focused on products in the Apple ecosystem.

Apple itself represents a different kind of risk. Just last week the iPhone maker announced the acquisition of Fleetsmith, a four-year-old company, whose software makes it easier to remotely configure, wipe and deploy devices.

Competing with Apple?

JAMF said it currently sees Fleetsmith as focused on small and medium-sized businesses and not in direct competition for the same customers.

“However, Apple could leverage this platform, whether through additional investment or the consolidation of other competitors of ours, to compete more directly with the scale and breadth of product offerings we provide,” the filing warns. 

Another prominent theme in JAMF’s prospectus is the coronavirus pandemic. The words Covid and coronavirus show up a combined 60 times in the filing.

The coronavirus, which sent office workers and students across the country home in February and March, has underscored the need for companies to adopt remote management technologies, the filing says. Health-care providers and schools, in particular, have become more reliant on iPads and have had to transition to them in a hurry.

JAMF is telling investors that many of these trends are likely here to stay.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for solutions to empower remote work, distance learning and telehealth,” the prospectus says. “While these trends were gaining mind share prior to the pandemic, recent challenges have added momentum to these digital transformation changes that will last long after the struggles related to COVID-19 have passed.”

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